Summer Poetry

Summer Poetry

Our Lord Jesus Christ by James Tissot, 1886-1894

But Then I Met Jesus
By David Barton

I sought pleasure, but pleasure didn’t satisfy.
I courted riches and they impoverished me,
Fame and it degraded me,
Power and it corrupted me.
I gave myself to charitable causes,
But, despite the glow, something still was missing.
I experimented with self-discipline and philosophy,
And found even these activities wanting…
Looking back, I think I know why.
I was seeking happiness in the wrong place:
In myself…,
And discovered in that solipsism,
What an utterly boring creature I was,
And what a pathetic paradox I had become.
Limited as I was in being and knowing,
Limited also in strength and goodness,
I had insatiable needs,
Needs which scorned the very thought of limits.    
I wanted to live,
Not just for today or tomorrow
Or even for another hundred years.
I wanted to live forever.
I felt compelled to know,
Not some things,
But all things.
I thirsted for joy,
Not some joy
But all joy.
And not joy for today,
Or joy for tomorrow
But joy forever,
Joy that was infinite, absolute…
…What outlandish demands!
What insufferable hubris!
Having so little, I demanded so much!
There I was, tortured by my own desires,
Wanting, yes; but helpless in my wanting.
Tortured by my own desires,
I cringed in the frigid darkness,
Desiring, never satisfied,
Searching, never finding,
Ready to give up…
But then,

Then, I met Jesus!
And in that golden moment of warmth and welcome,
I tasted more pleasure than I could ever absorb,
More riches than I could possibly amass,
More prestige than I could even imagine,
More knowledge than my hungry mind
Could dream of comprehending,
And I sensed inside me
An infusion of such stability and strength
That I knew.
No one or nothing in this world
Had the power to take me from Him.
…Yes, I had met my Savior Jesus,
And gazing into His lovely face,
My futile search for happiness
In all the wrong places,
Had come to an end.
Finally I knew!
Happiness is not a thing;
It is a Person
Who can put heaven into the life
Of anyone who welcomes him.

____________

A Song to Jesus and the Sons and Daughters of the Heavenly City
By Patrick Cioni

Tell me, You whom my soul loves (Song of Songs 1:7)
Where You pasture Your flock,
For why should I be like
One who wanders?

Your Name is oil poured out, (Song of Songs 1:3)
My anointing.
Your anointing oils are fragrant.
Draw me after You.
I will rejoice and exult in You. (Song of Songs 1:4)

Behold, You are beautiful, My God, (Song of Songs 1:15)
And late have I loved You, my beautiful One.
Late have I loved you, (St. Augustine)
So much left undone.

With great delight I sit
In Your shadow.
The night is not dark
For You are with me,
My light in the darkness.

I love You, my God
And I await Your coming
Like the vine branch awaits spring: (John 15:5)
You bring me life.

Late have I loved you (St. Augustine)
My beautiful One.
I am Yours and You are mine.
Never leave me.

You sustain me in life;
Your breath is in me.
You give me Your Spirit;
My days are bright.

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
The Heavenly City,
Do not stir up love before the time (Song of Songs 3:5)
But wait on your King.

I hear the voice of my Beloved;
Behold! Here He comes.
His voice is like the sound of the ocean, (Rev. 1:16)
His face as bright as the sun.

My beautiful One speaks, (Song of Songs 2:10)
He says to me:
Arise, my beloved
And come with Me;
The winter is past. (Song of Songs 2:11)

Let me see Your face, O God
Let me hear Your voice.
Your face is lovely,
Your voice sweet music,
Your lyre and harp enchant me.

My Beloved is mine (Song of Songs 2:16)
And I am His.
He holds my heart in His hand.
Though He slay me (Job 13:15)
Yet will I trust Him.

While I slumber I seek Him
Who my soul loves.
He refreshes me in sleep,
I awake unencumbered.

I hold Him and will not let go (Song of Songs 3:4)
I hold Him because He holds me
And will never let go.

I belong to my God
And my God belongs to me.
He is my greatest possession.
Finer than finest gold. (Song of Songs 5:11)
I am His and He is mine.

I adjure you, O sons of Jerusalem (Song of Songs 3:5)
Do not stir up love before the time
But await your King.

I dreamt of my God
In the depths of my soul.
He was a mighty lion, (Rev. 5:5)
This Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
He devours me.

How beautiful you are, my God, (Isaiah 4:1)
How beautiful You are! (Isaiah 4:12)
You have ravished my heart
With a glance of Your eyes.
How desirous is Your love?

I am an enclosed garden
And a fountain sealed,
Healed by Your touch.
You come to seal me,
Seal me for much.

My heart burns with love for You,
You are a flame in my depths.
No wind, no rain, no storm
Can put out the fire in my heart.

I dwell in You (John 17:23)
And You dwell in me,
I am Yours and You are mine.
Never will You leave me.

The daughters of Jerusalem ask me: (Song of Songs 5:9)
What is your Beloved more
Than another beloved?
What is your Beloved
That you so adjure us?

He is the Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14)
And King of Kings.
He is the lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
And the lamb who was slain. (Rev. 5:6)

The first and the last, (Rev. 1:17)
The living One.
Behold! He is alive forever more,
His rod and His staff, (Psalm 23:4)
They comfort me.

His eyes are like a flame of fire, (Rev. 12:14)
His feet like burnished bronze
Refined as in a furnace.
His voice like the sound of rushing waters.

Mountains shake at His coming (Exod. 19-18)
Wrapped in smoke when the Lord
Descends upon them in fire;
His voice is like the sound of a trumpet, (Exod. 19:19)
Mighty and fearsome.

With His peals of thunder (Exod. 19:16)
The Kings of earth tremble.
Like smoke from a furnace
The smoke goes up.
And mountains quake violently—
He comes!

Yahweh has descended; (Exod. 19:18)
In a form of fire.
O sons of Jerusalem
Do not stir up love (Song of Songs 2:7)
Before the time.

If God speaks, will you hear?
There came a mighty wind (1 Kings 19:11)
So strong it tore mountains
And shattered the rocks,
But He was not in the wind.

After the wind came an earthquake (1 Kings 19:12)
But He was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire
But God was not in the fire;
And after the fire: A still, small voice. (1 Kings 19:13)

And when I hear Him
I am healed.
Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening. (1 Samuel 3:9)
I adjure you, o daughters of Jerusalem
Stir up love at the favorable time.

I sleep, but my heart is awake. (Song of Songs 5:2)
I dream of You.
And I hold You in my dreams;
I seek and I find. (Matt. 7:7)

Who is this rising like the dawn? (Song of Songs 6:10)
It is the Morning Star, (Rev. 2:29)
The first and the last. (Rev. 1:17)
It is He who was, who is, (Rev. 4:8)
And who is to come,
The Holy One of Israel.

Sanctify your heart;
Make ready the coming
Of your Lord.
Make for Him a straight path;
Seek Him, and He will find you. (John 1:23)

I sleep, but my heart is awake.
I dream of You.
And I hold You in my dreams;
I seek and I find.

Who is this rising like the dawn?
It is the Morning Star,
The first and the last.
It is He who was, who is,
And who is to come,
The Holy One of Israel.

Sanctify your heart;
Make ready the coming
Of your Lord.
Make for Him a straight path;
Seek Him, and He will find you. (John 1:23)

I went to look for my God (Song of Songs 5:6)
But could not find Him.
He was not in the fire,
The gale, the storm.
I sought Him until He found me.

He is like a Brother to me,
A Friend, my God.
I gave Him my heart,
He gives me eternity
With Him.

I adjure you, O sons of Jerusalem:
Stir up love.
Set Him like a seal upon your hearts, (Song of Songs 8:6)
For Love is stronger than death
And His fire burns eternal.

 

About the Authors

David Barton 2Long time catechist, and author of a number of publications, including “Calming the Raging Storm,” David Barton tracks the Francis Thompson “Hound of Heaven” approach in his poem, “But Then I Met Jesus.”

 

Patrick F. CioniPatrick F. Cioni is a licensed professional counselor and approved clinical supervisor in private practice located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His work includes individual, marital, and family counseling. His previous publications have focused on forgiveness in the treatment of difficult emotions, including chronic anger. The author can be reached at: pfcioni@verizon.net.

HPRweb.com About HPRweb.com
Patrick F. Cioni About Patrick F. Cioni

Patrick F. Cioni is a licensed professional counselor and approved clinical supervisor in private practice located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His work includes individual, marital, and family counseling. His previous publications have focused on forgiveness in the treatment of difficult emotions, including chronic anger. The author can be reached at: pfcioni@verizon.net.

David Barton About David Barton

Long time catechist, and author of a number of publications, including “Calming the Raging Storm,” David Barton tracks the Francis Thompson “Hound of Heaven” approach in his poem, “But Then I Met Jesus.”